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Past work as it applies to disability benefits

Those in California and elsewhere who apply for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits will be asked for information relating to their mental and physical abilities. This information is used to create a residual functional capacity score. When determining what type of work a person may be suited for, an examiner may look at past work performed during the relevant period.

The relevant period is the previous 15 years of a person's life, and an examiner will look at all jobs done during this time. As a general rule, any skills acquired in these jobs may be considered useful to finding employment in the current job market. However, those who didn't earn a gainful income from a position may not see it count as past work. This may also be true of a job in which a person didn't stay long enough to learn how to perform it properly.

Those who have a disability may be entitled to benefits to help them pay bills or other expenses. The extent of those benefits may depend on a person's work record and other factors. If a person doesn't have a work record or has an insufficient work record, that individual may be entitled to SSI benefits.

It may be possible for those seeking Social Security Disability benefits to enlist the help of an attorney. Doing so might make it easier to have a claim approved on the initial application. However, if the initial application is denied, an attorney may be helpful during the appeal process. Legal counsel may take steps to ensure that a response is sent in a timely manner or help an applicant understand what information might increase the odds of winning an appeal. If necessary, an attorney may represent an applicant in court.

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